Nashville celebrates inaugural Juneteenth block party

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 06:13:40-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Nashville officially celebrated Juneteenth as a federal holiday for the first time this year.

There were several events over the weekend, but the recognition continued Monday with Nashville's Inaugural Juneteenth Block party.

There was music, food and celebration. But, most importantly, this block party was about freedom.

Leia Avery with Just Play Entertainment was excited to help kick off Nashville's first Juneteenth Block Party.

"Now we have Juneteenth, so it's awesome to have something we can call our own to be appreciative of and to grow from. And you know, we always knew about Juneteenth, but a lot of people didn't know about it. Not everyone knows about it. So, this is just the beginning," Avery said.

The Inaugural Juneteenth Block Party at the Local Distro kicked off from noon to 4 p.m. in the historic Salemtown community.

The sounds of music and laughing filled the air.

There were also several local vendors serving food and selling merchandise.

The free event was the first of many to celebrate Juneteenth becoming an official federal holiday.

The holiday celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in this country. The date coincides with the enforcement of the freeing of the last slaves in Galveston Texas on June 19, 1865, which came more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. The Emancipation Proclamation would be ratified as the Thirteenth Amendment in December of the same year.

But those who helped put this event together said it was about celebrating freedom and supporting Black businesses.

"Today we are celebrating our first, inaugural Juneteenth block party. We wanted it to be different, unique, have it on a Monday — it's our first federal holiday: supposedly no work, no school. So, it's like a continuation on to the weekend's festivities," Avery said.

She said it's about celebrating Black voices from the past, present and future.

Donzaleigh Powell, CEO of D Connect, LLC also helped put this event together.

"To be able to provide an opportunity... just for exposure, for people to be able to have something to do on a holiday where normally they might just be sitting at home — it's a chance to find things that you wouldn't normally find in a regular store."

Organizers said it went so well this year that they can't wait to do it again.

"Every year. Every year, we’re going to do this. This is our first time; we're so excited to have the opportunity. It’s going get bigger and better and greater from here on out," Avery said.

Below is a full list of participating vendors.

  • Nashville Preds
  • Jerry Maynard for State
  • Cultured Cigars
  • Senate
  • Jenn & Juice
  • Tasty J food trucks
  • Mother Daughter Experience
  • Chef Cherie
  • Tennessee Craft Midstate
  • The Closet Experience
  • Jfitz hatz
  • 615 Henna
  • Lip Smacking Creations food truck
  • Woman 2 Woman
  • Dubois Academy of Excellence
  • Hip Hop Charades
  • The Baking Room food trucK
  • Grounded in faith training
  • Take off
  • Fawohodie
  • Royal Oils EC
  • Crowns up learning
  • Sexual assault center
  • Allergy asthma network
  • Ondie’s Unique Boutique
  • Elizabeth Bags and accessories
  • Dubois academy of excellence Black Moga
  • Goodwill
  • Donzeleigh photography